Concerned Advocates Against Impaired Driving Support Strengthening Noah’s Law
H.B. 557 will be heard by House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 23rd S.B. 653 introduced last week
ARLINGTON, VA – Leading anti-drunk driving organizations including Noah on Patrol, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and Responsibility.org announced their unified support today for Maryland lawmakers to adopt new legislation that strengthens Maryland’s DUI law and prevents crashes, deaths, and injuries.
House Bill 557 and Senate Bill 653 would require all first-time drunk drivers in Maryland to install an ignition interlock device. In Maryland, 14,170 people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in 2020. According to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services Fiscal and Policy Note, during this time nearly 6,000 first-time DUI offenders were spared a DUI conviction by receiving probation before judgment and therefore were not required to install a lifesaving ignition interlock device on their vehicle. Studies show that the best way to keep our roads safe is to require an ignition interlock after the first offense. Passage of HB 557 and SB 653 would require interlocks for the individuals who receive probation before judgment, helping to change behaviors, prevent recidivism, and keep everyone on the roads in Maryland safe.
“While the passage of Noah’s Law in 2016 was a significant step in the right direction, the law did not go far enough. In order to maximize the lifesaving benefits of this technology, it must apply to first-time DUI offenders,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and Responsibility.org. “One life lost is one too many, and today we join our partners in supporting legislation to correct this technicality and make ignition interlock devices truly mandatory for every DUI offender in the state.”
Maryland passed Noah’s Law in 2016 in honor of Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta, who died a week after being struck by an impaired driver while working on his department’s annual Holiday Alcohol Task Force.
“Noah’s law was designed to prevent first-time impaired drivers from driving impaired again in the future, however, each year nearly 5,000 impaired drivers who are arrested and plead guilty receive PBJ which does not carry an interlock requirement, creating a public safety risk that we must address,” said Rich Leotta, Noah’s father and founder of Noah on Patrol. “I hope lawmakers understand how important it is to ensure that ignition interlocks are mandatory for every drunk driver in Maryland and support this legislation. Noah’s Law can be a model for the rest of the country.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol-impaired drivers got behind the wheel about 147 million times in 2018 and 12.6 million Americans reported driving under the influence of marijuana or other illicit drugs in 2018.
For more information, please visit www.responsibility.org.
Responsibility.org is a national not-for-profit that aims to eliminate drunk driving and work with others to end all impaired driving, eliminate underage drinking, and empowers adults to make a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices as part of a balanced lifestyle. Responsibility.org is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi USA, Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Campari Group; DIAGEO; Edrington, Mast-Jägermeister US, Inc.; Moët Hennessy USA; Ole Smoky, LLC; Pernod Ricard USA; and William Grant & Sons. For 30 years, Responsibility.org has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families, and communities together to inspire a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices. To learn more, please visit www.Responsibility.org.
About the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is the leading voice and advocate for distilled spirits in the U.S., advocating on legislative, regulatory and public affairs issues impacting the distilled spirits sector at the local, state, federal and international levels. DISCUS members are committed to responsibility and encourage adults who drink to do so in moderation.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save more than 390,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.
About Washington Regional Alcohol Program
Founded in 1982, the Maryland nonprofit [501(c)(3)] Washington Regional Alcohol Program is a coalition of diverse interests using effective education, innovative programs, and targeted advocacy to end alcohol-impaired driving and underage drinking. Through public education, innovative health education programs and advocacy, WRAP is credited with keeping the metro-Washington area’s alcohol-related traffic deaths historically lower than the national average. WRAP, however, may best be known to area residents via the organization’s popular free safe ride service to prevent drunk driving, SoberRide®. For more information, visit WRAP’s web site www.wrap.org.